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Red Sox's Pedroia denies wanting Valentine ousted

The SportsXchange

If Dustin Pedroia and his Boston Red Sox teammates did go to management in late July demanding that manager Bobby Valentine be removed from the job, they aren't admitting it.

After a Yahoo Sports story indicated that Boston players were critical of Valentine during a meeting with team executives on July 26 in New York, Pedroia distanced himself from the report Tuesday night after the Red Sox's 7-1 loss to Baltimore, ESPN.com reported.

"I don't think Bobby should be fired," Pedroia said. "We haven't played well. That's the bottom line. I'm not going to blame anything on Bobby. It's on the players."

Yahoo Sports had reported that Pedroia and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez were the most vocal critics of Valentine in a meeting with owner John Henry and team president Larry Lucchino before the late July series against the Yankees in New York. The contentious meeting included 17 players, according ESPN.com.

"It's tough," Pedroia said. "We had a meeting. I'll be honest with everybody. We had a meeting in New York. The coaches had a meeting. Bobby had a meeting. We all had a meeting. Basically, when I spoke, I said we all need to do better. That includes owners, Bobby, coaches, especially the players.

"I had one problem with Bobby earlier in the year and I went into his office and talked to him like a man. He talked to me like a man. We've been great, had a great relationship. I'll go out there and play for him any day of the week. I'm playing for all my teammates."

Gonzalez confirmed that the meeting with management did happen.

"They had a meeting with the players, they had a meeting with the coaches and they had a meeting with Bobby and it was to assess where we were as a team and as an organization and why we were where we were, and what our thoughts were, basically," Gonzalez told WEEI.

Valentine declined to comment specifically on the stories.

"Dustin and I had a talk about a meeting that I had," Valentine said.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told Yahoo Sports that the meeting was productive.

"The intent of the meeting was to provide a forum for people to express whatever frustration needed to be expressed at a time during the season when things were not going exactly the way we wanted to on the field in hopes that we could put whatever issues were there aside and focus on playing games the rest of the season," Cherington said.

Despite the team's struggles this season, management continues to stand behind Valentine. The Red Sox (57-60) entered Wednesday's play trailing the Yankees by 12½ games in the American League East.

"It's tough when all this stuff comes out that everyone's trying to get the manager fired," Pedroia said. "That's not the case."
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